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Thread: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

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    420 Member SteveHman's Avatar
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    Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    I’m new to the “hobby” of growing MMJ and have done quite a bit of reading. The one thing I’ve found is the more I read, I realize I need to read more. Education is key to any endeavor and this one is no different. So, I’ve decided to compile a few of my lessons learned after completing two grows and am now in my third. I hope that this will help some new growers as they are working their way through the growing process.

    1. Read—a lot: There are some great forums on this site that will provide you with the answers to most of the questions asked. Learn how to use the search tool for the forums and bookmark (or subscribe) to some of the sticky posts.

    Some of the forums I’ve bookmarked and refer back to frequently are:
    http://www.420magazine.com/forums/ho...need-know.html
    http://www.420magazine.com/forums/ho...use-chart.html
    How to Ask for Grow Support

    2. Follow other Growers: Depending on the type of grow you are doing, someone has already done it—successfully. Look through the Grow Journals and find one that closely matches what you are trying to accomplish. I am using LEDs in a Hydro setup, so I follow journals using similar methods. Read the journal from page 1 through the end before asking questions of the grower or other contributors. Nothing is more frustrating than having to answer the same question multiple times because you were too lazy to do the reading.

    3. Don’t fall in love with your setup: I have seen people argue vehemently that they have the BEST system ever. Of course if you have spent a lot of time and money on building your system you don’t want to admit that it’s not the best. Every system has its own merits and I have toyed with three variations of mine. I will continue to tinker and look for ways to simplify the system and increase yields.

    Don’t bash someone else’s system because you think you’re an expert grower. If you don’t have some great results using your setup, or are constantly making excuses for why your system didn’t perform then you shouldn’t be telling other growers that yours is the way to grow. Not everyone loves vanilla that’s why B&R sells 31 flavors.

    4. Ask for help only when you’ve exhausted tips 1 and 2: I have read at least 4 new posts a day asking simple questions that should be common knowledge to every grower before they crack their first seed or take their first clone. If it is not common knowledge to you, then educate yourself first. Buy some books, read some journals and go through all of the FAQs on this and any other site. Google is a great resource too.

    When you’ve exhausted all avenues and need to ask for help, please follow the guide lines posted:
    How to Ask for Grow Support
    They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that is definitely the case here.

    5. Don’t pass yourself off as an expert if you can’t back it up: I have read some spurious posts from people that are making some pretty outrageous claims. If you are making bold statements about a plants particular process, how certain wavelengths of light affect growth, how root development works, you better have some proof to back it up. There are a lot of first-time growers here that are looking for ways to improve yield, save money and grow some meds for their personal use.

    • If you are giving out advice based on your gut feeling, please keep it to yourself.
    • If you are an experienced (master) grower and have years of experience then please share.
    • Unless you have a degree in microbiology, botany or another related science, don’t tell me that plants excrete waste from their roots. Advanced growing is a science and unless you possess the proper credentials please don’t pass on pseudo-science to the rest of us. If you find an interesting article from a peer-reviewed publication then please share it.

    6. Share your experience online: Start a journal, even if you get no followers it will force you to take readings, measurements and give you a historical record of your grow so that you can either repeat it, or improve on it. If you do get some followers then you will reap the benefit of their input on what you’re doing. And let’s face it, we all want to brag about what we’re doing and talking about it at work or with your neighbors is just a bad idea.

    7. Respect your fellow growers : Doesn’t require an lengthy explanation.

    8. Support 420’s Sponsors: They help keep this community going and growing. When possible send business their way.

    9. Support your local Hydro Shop: If you live in California, there’s a Hydro shop about as frequently as there are Starbuck’s. When you need to find that emergency item and can’t wait for it to be shipped you will need to visit them. If they don’t have a good customer base they won’t be able to stay in business to provide you that support.

    My local guy is awesome, I get a 15% discount off of his best prices and that includes special order items. He and his staff are knowledgeable growers and can answer questions about your setup. They know what you’re growing so you don’t have to use the tomato analogy (unless you’re actually growing tomatoes).

    10. Visit your collective/dispensary before you start your grow: This only really applies to growers that will be selling their excess meds to the dispensary. Find out what they are looking for in a vendor. Ask which strains are most in demand and also what they will pay for them. Ask to see/smell some of their top-shelf meds to better understand what they consider to be A+ quality meds.

    The time to do that is not after you’ve spent 12 weeks growing, drying and curing to discover that your babies are not considered “marketable” because you bought seeds that appealed to you. They will still buy the meds but you won’t get top dollar for them. If you grow just for yourself not a big issue, but if you are growing for others find a strain that has mass-appeal. Find one that is not the basic/common strain but will be a bit unique and still retain the characteristics that the dispensary is looking for.

    One of my local BT’s told me that they want “stanky”, didn’t care about name, if you don’t know the genetics. So for the next grow I will be using known genetics and finding the “stankiest” strain I can.


    I hope this is of use to some of the new growers out there. I continue to learn something new every day about the art and science of growing and appreciate everyone’s feedback and support I’ve received.
     
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  2. #2
    420 Member SteveHman's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    11. Buy the best quality you can afford: This goes from everything from lights, fans, air pump, water pump, hoses etc... I replaced all of my hoses with the slightly more expensive braided vinyl houses from HD and noticed an immediate improvement in flow rate on my nutes. They won't collapse or pinch thereby reducing their internal diameter. Doesn't do any good to buy a high output pump if the hose is pinching itself off.

    I know sometimes you have to build slowly, prioritize the most important items that are critical to success and upgrade those first (even the simplest things make an improvement). Then as time goes by and you are able to, upgrade everything that you can to the best quality (not most expensive, they're not one-in-the-same).
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    420 Member SteveHman's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    12. Sanitation: I just found 2 of my colas with the early signs of grey mold/bud rot. After referring to Cervantes' Bible, I was able to determine what I had on my hands. THe first signs are drying-dead leaves on your buds. I clipped the two that were showing signs and dissected them. At the heart of the bud was grey-brown-black mold spreading out. It only affected about 10% of the bud, but I cut the entire cola to minimize the risk of spreading.

    I think the infection was spread from a pair of scissors that I used to trim a few of the fan leaves. I had not been keeping them as clean as I should. They are now in a shot glass of alcohol and I re-dip them between cuts when pruning.

    13. Have a reference book handy: Whether it's Cervantes or someone else's book, buy one. The Cervantes Grow Bible has 512 color pages and over 1120 color images. If it wasn't for the book my entire grow would be covered in mold.
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    Cannabis Connoisseur - Member of the Month Winner - November 2012 fish cake's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    cool

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    On Vacation quietonthe401's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    Sad, probably the only people who have read this are experienced and really nodding their heads right now. lolololololol
     

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    Cannabis Connoisseur - Member of the Month Winner - November 2012 fish cake's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    maybe, im afirst time grower and everthing steve says is true. i know ive asked some qs that have made him and abunch of other people roll their eyes and go not again. just like putting yor hand in the fire and then if your dumb enough you do it again. you soon learn not to do it anymore. bad qs aint gonna stop. but alittle sense of humor will go a long way.
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    Cannabis Connoisseur GigaGrew's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    a question may have been answered plenty of times before, and i can see that looking up the data is wise, but for a lot of us asking questions is a way to start interacting with the community, questions have broken the ice with a few of you
     
    legacy

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    420 Member PrairiePoet's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    Quote Originally Posted by GiGaBaNE View Post
    a question may have been answered plenty of times before, and i can see that looking up the data is wise, but for a lot of us asking questions is a way to start interacting with the community, questions have broken the ice with a few of you
    While asking questions does break the ice, some questions are rather way to open to answer.

    Or don't have enough information to give a proper answer.

    Or typed in such a poor manner, it becomes a task to decipher what they are saying.

    I'm not an expert on growing, though I'm willing to give a suggestion or comment when I think it could help or provide a different angle of thought.

    I will say I' have stopped trying to help those that won't try to spell most of their words properly. Not a nut about it, just needs to have more words spelled correct than not.

    As for adding humor to one's post. Please do!!

    Prairie
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    -- Prairie

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    If you are asking for help, click here to get better answers.

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    On Vacation quietonthe401's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    How many adults would type a well thought out question like a 16 year old texting? One trying to grow pot in a crawl space in his parents basement. Shouldn't help them. I said before, people dont see the medicine, they see the glassy eyed 16 year old. That is what they remember.
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  10. #10
    Ludacris
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    Quote Originally Posted by quietonthe401 View Post
    How many adults would type a well thought out question like a 16 year old texting? One trying to grow pot in a crawl space in his parents basement. Shouldn't help them. I said before, people dont see the medicine, they see the glassy eyed 16 year old. That is what they remember.




    Love it.

    CHRIS.

  11. #11
    Ludacris
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    Quote Originally Posted by PrairiePoet View Post
    While asking questions does break the ice, some questions are rather way to open to answer.

    Or don't have enough information to give a proper answer.

    Or typed in such a poor manner, it becomes a task to decipher what they are saying.

    I'm not an expert on growing, though I'm willing to give a suggestion or comment when I think it could help or provide a different angle of thought.

    I will say I' have stopped trying to help those that won't try to spell most of their words properly. Not a nut about it, just needs to have more words spelled correct than not.

    As for adding humor to one's post. Please do!!

    Prairie
    Keep up the tricking.

    CHRIS.

  12. #12
    420 Member SteveHman's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    Quote Originally Posted by quietonthe401 View Post
    How many adults would type a well thought out question like a 16 year old texting? One trying to grow pot in a crawl space in his parents basement. Shouldn't help them. I said before, people dont see the medicine, they see the glassy eyed 16 year old. That is what they remember.
    I'm with you on this one. If I see a post that looks like it was written by a 10 year old (most likely a 16 year old) I typically ignore it.

    As a rule of thumb, I will put as much effort into answering a question as the person put into asking it.
     
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    420 Member SteveHman's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    14. Have a backup plan:
    I decided to go with an external pump for my system to cut down on all of the clutter inside of my res. I looked around and found a pump that purported to be inline compatible. Well the thing leaked--a lot. I tried to patch it but no luck. Fortunately I had a spare pump that I was able to swap out for the one that I had purchased (I have a better pump on order and will put this one back into my backup box).

    Whether it's a ballast, bulb, air pump, water pump or whatever, have a backup part on hand. If you have a failure and don't live close to a store that has the part you need you may end up with a bigger loss than the cost of having purchased a backup part.

    You don't necessarily need to buy the exact item, but a close enough fit to keep the air moving, the water/nutes flowing or the lights on until you can fix/replace the primary component.
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    420 Member PrairiePoet's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    Quote Originally Posted by stevehman View Post
    14. Have a backup plan:
    I decided to go with an external pump for my system to cut down on all of the clutter inside of my res. I looked around and found a pump that purported to be inline compatible. Well the thing leaked--a lot. I tried to patch it but no luck. Fortunately I had a spare pump that I was able to swap out for the one that I had purchased (I have a better pump on order and will put this one back into my backup box).

    Whether it's a ballast, bulb, air pump, water pump or whatever, have a backup part on hand. If you have a failure and don't live close to a store that has the part you need you may end up with a bigger loss than the cost of having purchased a backup part.

    You don't necessarily need to buy the exact item, but a close enough fit to keep the air moving, the water/nutes flowing or the lights on until you can fix/replace the primary component.
    Hey Steve,

    I believe in the same thing about all the mechanical/electrical components of my grow. I now have three pH meters, but I still have strips and still use them, just to keep up and to cycle them out. I keep an extra HPS bulb. I doubt I would loose both that are running in the closet, and my source is with in an hours drive.

    Sometimes it is hard to do, the extra money, storage space and what not. Especially when you are first starting out, and can't spend much to start with. But the longer you keep at it, the more you can spend or build.

    Keep the faith,
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    -- Prairie

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    420 Member SteveHman's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons Learned from a first time grower

    15. Become an active member of the site. There are a lot of threads in the forums that I never even realized were there until I started poking around. I had pretty much confined my activites to "The Grow Room". I didn't realize there was an area for other conversations and until two months ago I didn't know how the MOTM, POTM and NOTM were selected. It wasn't until Hydro had nominated me two months ago for MOTM that I even know that there were other forums to explore. I found myself being nominated again this month by Jozo-sha (thanks JZ). I looked through some of the recent polls and noticed a trend of fewer and fewer members voting.

    With the thousands of members here on 420, I would think there would be more than 30 or so votes total for these competitions. Voting is easy, just click on the link 420 Contests - 420 Magazine and let them know who is the best Nug, Plant or Member for the month.
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